This article describes a simple three step process used by professional sales people for handling customer objections. Following this process will help you close more business.
By Richard Stone
Even the most experienced sales professionals have to face objections as part and parcel of their sales job. Whilst I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that you can overcome them all, the formula that follows, which forms the foundation of consultative selling techniques as taught on our sales training courses, will give you a much higher chance of handling such objections well. And if you handle objections well you will be able to close mutually beneficial business for both sides and this in turn will lead to greater job satisfaction for you.
Some clients raise clear unambiguous objections during your sales presentation, such as “I want delivery on Monday not Tuesday”. These objections are easy for the sales person to handle and rarely cause issues on sales training courses. However, very often, the objection is articulated less clearly by the customer using a phrase such as, “I don’t think it’s right for us”, or, “the men on the shop floor wouldn’t wear it”. Whilst they are themselves valid as objections, they are far too vague for a sales person to handle immediately. This is where the three stage formula for handling objections can be particularly useful.
The first step in the three stage formula is to refine the customer’s objection. This is to make it meaningful, specific, or quantifiable so you can deal with it. You can do this by asking a question such as “Do you mind if I ask why you say that?” By using this type of question we make the client re-phrase their objection and disclose its real underlying meaning. If you can do this you are well on your way to handling the objection.
Having refined the objection we now want to be sure that this is the only reason why our prospect is reluctant to proceed with the purchase. It would be a complete waste of your and the client’s time if you solved the objection and were then greeted by a load more. So the second step in the three stage formula is to isolate the objection. This can be acomplished by asking the client another question along the lines of “if we overcome that can we go ahead”?” The answer given by the customer will quickly indicate to us if there are any more skeletons in the cupboard that we need to deal with. If there are no others, then the end point is in view.
Now that we know the reason for the objection and we have established that it’s the one thing preventing the sale from taking place, we must move into the final stage of the three stage formula. In this stage we now need to take a pro-active stance with the customer, using justification. This means repositioning the customer’s argument. Instead of focusing on the reason not to buy, our presentation to the customer should now help them focus on, and consider, the extra benefit they will get which arises from their area of concern. So, for example, if the objection is “Too dear”, they really want to know what extra gain will come their way by proceeding with our more expensive offer and we should explain this. If, on the other hand, they state that “Its too large”, they are enquiring as to why it is constructed in that way and what they will get for their money. Again we need to address these concerns.
So, in summary, the three step process for managing objections well means refining the objection, ensuring it is the only bjection the client has and then overcoming the objection using pro-active justification. By adhering to this three-step process, as demonstrated on our sales training courses, you will be well down the path to developing the skills needed to become a professional salesperson.
Richard Stone, Director of Spearhead Training specialising in management and sales training courses to improve business performance. Richard also provides consultancy advice for many leading companies. View further information at => http://www.spearhead-training.co.uk